About the author

Myron Levin is editor of FairWarning.

5 comments to “Don’t Drive Distracted, Wireless Industry Says, But Safety Advocates Want More Than Talk”

  1. Alan Kandel

    Myron,

    In the article you mentioned the Union Pacific/Metrolink collision of Sept. 12, 2008 in Chatsworth, California.

    It is coming up on 10 years since this horrific crash took place. How close or how much closer are America’s Class 1, 2, 3 (mainline or large-scale, regional and short-line) and commuter and passenger rail carriers to deploying Positive Train Control (PTC) on approximately 70,000 miles of track that will enforce speed limits to prevent:over-speed derailments), head-on and rear-end crashes, and intrusions into track sections where railway maintenance employees are working? If I recall correctly, a deadline date of Dec. 31, 2018 has been imposed.

    I believe the time ripe for an FairWarning in-depth analysis and report on this – what I consider to be an extremely important issue. I sincerely hope you agree that, yes, that time has come!

  2. Matthew Mabey

    I followed your links to the firms that have supposedly “solved” the passenger problem. I saw nothing to indicate that either of the three firms was offering software or hardware that would prevent the use of the device by the driver but freely allow its use by the passenger. Either the device is voluntarily blocked (sometimes based on motion), or it is involuntarily blocked while in motion.
    Show me a link to technology that enforces a driver not being allowed to use some features of a phone, but allows such use by a passenger. I have seen no sign of such hardware/software. It is a very tough problem. Don’t trivialize it.
    The voluntary software that screens calls and messages when activated, or when the vehicle is in motion, is certainly useful, and now quite common. The passenger dilemma for enforced blocking has not been solved.
    Regarding eBrake that is mentioned above, it is “unlocked” after detecting travel motion through the use of a gesture. Tempting a driver to engage in a complicated gesture to unlock their device is not promoting safety. It is making a bad situation worse. Anything that a passenger can do, a sufficiently distracted driver can do.
    As I said, the passenger dilemma is going to be a tough nut to crack. Until then, persuasion and education are the tools that we need to aggressively employ.

  3. Troy Spracklin

    The passenger problem is the favourite excuse of lobbyists. It’s a lie! The only problem is the driver who may not be driving. eBrake protects drivers from dangerous distractions when vehicle motion is detected, but allows unrestricted use to drivers that appear as passengers though it’s proprietary passenger unlock. Ask your insurance company about eBrake and break the habit.

  4. monte beck

    Great job on the research! Of course industry is in denial when profits trump safety.

  5. Chuck

    Smartphones have been around for MORE than TWO decades. The Nokia 9000 Communicator was released in August 1996, while the first BlackBerry was released in January 1999. Apple didn’t invent the smartphone, they only helped popularize it. In large part it was a matter of getting favorable rates from cell carriers, not any new hardware technology.

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